US based Company CheetahStand have release the Cheetah CL-180, a powerful new 153WS bare bulb hotshoe flash with Lithium battery pack and Remote Manual power control. The Cheetah CL-180 is the result of a collaboration between Edward Tang of Cheetah Stand and the Chinese manufacturer Godox, with guidance and input from our good friend and grass roots flasher, Dave Freedman (known by many as “tetrode” on the Canon forums). So its no surprise the Cheetah CL-180 has got a lot of things right from the get go. Many Strobist’s have been waiting for a good bare bulb hotshoe flash since the original Sunpak 120J ended production a number of years ago, and the CL-180 is looking like the first serious option to fill that void.
The CL-180 is powered by a lightweight and compact Lithium battery pack which gives up to 900 full power pops, at around 2.5 second recycle time. The Cheetah Lithium 4500 power pack has exchangeable battery packs (so you could have a few charged up) and will also power up to 2 regular Canon or Nikon compatible speedlites. Cords are also compatible with Quantum cords and packs.
There are option CL-TX and RX radio triggers available which allow remote manual power control from 1/1 to 1/128 power levels in 1/3 rd stop adjustments from the remote radio transmitter unit.
There is even the option of High Speed Sync with a Cells II transmitter available for Canon cameras. EDIT – Now confirmed, this is FP HSS just like a Canon speedlight has. That’s right, High Speed Sync now available in a suitably more powerful compact hotshoe flash unit!
Power – The CL-180 is stated as 153WS power output (while Godox overstate a litte at 180ws for the same unit). Guide number 60m (ISO 100, with the standard 28mm reflector). With some initial tests Dave has put that at around 1 to 1.5 stops over the power of a full sized speedlite like the Canon 600EX-RT and Nikon SB-910 etc, and slightly more power than a Quantum QFlash. That is some good solid power for a small unit, because it takes more power with a bare bulb to even match a speedlite. So you’re getting the even light quality of bare bulb, with power added .
Add to that a standard compact mount which accepts nearly all Quantum/Lumedyne mount accessories, as well as a range of Cheetah Stand’s own accessories, which include a standard 5” reflector, two types of snoot, folding 19” octabox/beauty dish, and a cleverly designed umbrella holder with dedicated reflector, and you have a pretty impressive compact flash unit.
- Powerful 153ws GN 60m (ISO 100, standard 28mm reflector) (this is the same as Godox’s stated 180ws)
- 900 Full Power Pops – with the Cheetah Lithium 4500
- Fast Recycle Times 2.6 seconds at full power
- No overheating like speedlights – Fire more consecutive flashes without overheating
- Wireless Remote Manual Power Control – (with optional CL-TX Radio Triggers)
- 1/1 – 1/128 power levels in 1/3 rd stop adjustments (22 adjustments)
- FP HSS (High Speed Sync) with Canon cameras (requires optional Cells II transmitter)
- Accurate colour temperature output 5600K +/- 200K
- Flash duration 1/300 to 1/10,000
- Focus Assist Light
- Built in Optic Slave
- Sound Prompt Beep (recycle ready etc)
- Lightweight and Compact – just 550 grams – Lithium pack 540 grams
- Modifiers available to attach directly to the flash head bayonet mount
- Compatible with virtually all existing Quantum/Lumedyne mount accessories
- Removable and replaceable bulb
- Professional Cheetah Lithium 4500 Power Pack with detachable battery packs (also see PB960)
- Also compatible with the lower priced PB820 Nimh Pack
1/1 – 1/128 power levels in 1/3 rd stop adjustments (22 adjustments). Also note the unique umbrella mount and matching reflector. The umbrella mount is also removable.
Optional CL-TX Radio Triggers provide Wireless Remote Manual Power Control. The receivers attaching to the side of the flash via USB port instead of the foot, which takes physical stress of that connection. 1/1 – 1/128 power levels in 1/3 rd stop adjustments. The CL-TX are 433MHz, which is not generally what we want to hear (as 2.4GHz triggers have generally proven much better range and reliability), but Dave’s testing has shown range up to 500 feet (120 meters), which is clearly a lot more than the 20 – 30 meters maximum you would expect from any poor quality 433MHz triggers. The TX antenna likely does go a way to achieving that good range and performance.
Multiple groups are supported, so a number of flash units can be set on different power levels all adjusted from the transmitter unit on camera. (16 channels available via the dip switch selection).
Ports are both PC and 3.5mm sync, USB for the radio trigger, and the battery pack HV port.
A standard compact mount which accepts nearly all Quantum/Lumedyne mount accessories (like the Sunpak 120j and Qflash use), as well as a range of Cheetah Stand’s own accessories, which include a standard 5” reflector, two types of snoot, folding 19” octabox/beauty dish, and a cleverly designed umbrella holder with dedicated reflector.
The complete unit packs lightweight and compact. At just over 1kg (2 pounds) for flash and battery, the Cl-180 is much more light and compact than any monolight with added power pack.
On-camera – the CL-180 is labelled as dual purpose, for on and off camera use. Though it is manual only even on-camera, which is limited compared to the Q-flash which offers full TTL (though at a higher price).
The Metal flash foot is single firing pin only, so the focus assist light is manually operated by pressing a button on the flash.
|Flash Index||60 (m ISO 100, using a standard reflector)
-top use, the standard reflector flash covers the range of about 28mm
|Up and down the angle of rotation||-15 ° -90 °|
|Left and right rotation angle||0-270 °|
|Power supply||Power Box (Cheetah Lithium 4500, GODOX - PB960, PB820)|
|Number of flashes||900 times (full power, the power supply box Cheetah Lithium 4500)|
|Recycle time||Approximately 0.05-2.6s (power box Cheetah Lithium 4500)|
|Color Temperature||5600 ± 200k|
|Volume||205 * 90 * 70 mm (excluding lamps and reflectors)|
|Net weight||550g (excluding lamps and reflectors)|
So the Cheetah CL-180 is looking to be a very well though out unit with great features. That just leaves the all important question of price -
Price and Availability -
The Cheetah CL-180 and 4500 Lithium pack are available from February 28th.
The Cheetah CL-180 flash unit alone is $399.95
The Cheetah L 45000 Lithium battery pack is $199.95
The combined set with CL-180 flash unit, L4500 battery pack, and CL TX-RX remote manual radio triggers are $669.85.
The full listing with accessories are now listed on the CheetahStand.com store.
When you start to weigh up needing a number of speedlights and battery pack/s to match this one unit in power and recycle. not to mention the added even light quality of the bare bulb, or the ability to fire off more shots without overheating, the CL-180 starts to look very attractive. You can buy monolights for this price, though they can not match the CL-180 for small size and low weight (and HSS with Canon cameras).
There is a smaller compatible 2000mAh Nimh version of the battery pack currently available on Amazon from $112, though that would not have the same recycle and number of pops as the impressive Lithium L 4500mAh.
One thing is for sure, if you’re based in the USA Cheetah Stand is a great place to purchase from as Edward’s service is outstanding.
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